Report: Canada could save $770 million by switching these three drug classes to OTC
OTTAWA — A new Conference Board of Canada report estimates that switching three prescription drug classes to over-the-counter status could represent a cost savings of more than $770 million annually (in U.S. currency). Those classes include proton-pump inhibitors, oral contraceptives and erectile dysfunction remedies.
In the U.S. market, PPI sales totaled more than $620.2 million for the 52 weeks ended Dec. 25 across total U.S. multi-outlets, according to IRI. Pfizer's Nexium 24HR is the best-selling antacid tablet on the market with $306.5 million in sales on 1.4% growth.
And ED as a potential OTC class of medicines is expected to be pursued by Sanofi/Chattem this year. In 2014, Sanofi acquired the OTC rights to Cialis from Eli Lilly. Patents protecting Cialis expire in 2017.
"Removing the need to obtain a prescription from a physician for select medications can help improve access for some Canadians through greater convenience and at a lesser cost," stated Louis Thériault, VP public policy, The Conference Board of Canada. "It also alleviates some of the pressure on Canada's strained health care system by decreasing the number of unnecessary doctor visits."
Overall, the annual economic value of switching is estimated at $527 million for proton pump inhibitors, $165 million for oral contraceptives and $78.8 million for erectile dysfunction drugs. The greatest savings would stem from lower drug costs, approximately $340.3 million. While reduced physician visits and increased economic productivity would save $215.4 million and $215.1 million respectively.
Public insurers stand to gain the most from the switches, followed by employers and private drug plan sponsors. Individuals who currently do not have access to the best prescription drug coverage would also see significant savings, due to the lower cost of over-the-counter medications and removal of dispensing fees. On the other hand, individuals currently covered under a drug plan with low or no deductibles and co-payments would incur additional costs from having to purchase the medication over the counter.
The report, in addition to identifying the economic benefits of switching, also discusses some of the risks of switching, such as misdiagnosis, misuse and adverse events, all of which are reviewed by Health Canada before approving individual medication switches.
WestLab launches three essential-oil infused bathing salts as Walgreens exclusive
NEW YORK — WestLab earlier this week announced the launch of its first dedicated beauty collection, Supersalt, exclusively through Walgreens on March 17. The Supersalt collection, comprised of three essential-oil infused bathing salts, is fortified with blends of organic plant and fruit extracts, oils, antioxidants and minerals.
WestLab’s signature collection is based on the desire to provide the best pure-salt products on the market at a drug store beauty price, the company stated. The Supersalt line features the “perfect pair” of salt and powerful essential oils to treat an array of skin-specific concerns.
“Think of them as the new power couples,” stated Vincent Gallick, CEO and director of WestLab U.S. “Dead Sea, Epsom and Himalayan salts already have phenomenal health properties, and now we’ve found the right partners to make them even more potent.
WestLab is committed to offering affordable prices with salts products ranging from $3.99 to$8.99, the company added.
MusclePharm launches organic alternative in sports nutrition space
ANAHEIM, Calif. — MusclePharm on Friday launched its MusclePharm Natural Series, a line of plant-based, vegan, gluten-free, soy-free, non-GMO products targeting individuals seeking an organic alternative to traditional nutritional products and supplements.
"Natural Series represents both a logical extension and a tremendous opportunity for MusclePharm to capitalize on the brand recognition and consumer acceptance of our products," stated Ryan Drexler, CEO and chairman, MusclePharm. "In addition, the launch underscores the company's commitment to providing our customers with high-quality products that support their diverse fitness needs and goals," he said. "From professional athletes to weekend warriors, we strive to cater to every subset of the active population and offer scientifically-proven products that optimize results. We are expanding our line in response to the burgeoning demand for nutritious, all-natural organic offerings that promote healthy lifestyles and environmental sustainability."
The Natural Series line complements MusclePharm's existing range of products and represents a new retail category for the company. This latest expansion will facilitate access to new retail channels, including large natural food store chains, both domestically and abroad, the company stated.
Select items in the Natural Series are certified USDA Organic, denoting third-party verification of their quality and purity, and demonstrating best practices and careful stewardship.
"Both the all-natural and organic segments represent the fastest-growing corner of the market, and MusclePharm is a brand uniquely positioned to capitalize on this opportunity," Drexler added. "Over the past year, we have worked closely with regulatory bodies to secure USDA Organic certification for a majority of these products, which not only differentiates the Natural Series from its competitors, but effectively positions MusclePharm to further penetrate its existing distribution channels and enter new markets."